• A One-of-One 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake Sold for $2.2 Million at a Mecum Auction

It’s unique and it’s powered by the engine that helped Ford win Le Mans

Let the brand-new 2019 Mustang Shelby GT500 take the back seat for a moment because this one-of-one 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 Super Snake is far cooler. Why? Well, it just became the most expensive Mustang sold at auction ever, breaking its own record, and its spec sheet is ludicrous for a car built 52 years ago.

If you’re looking for the road-going Mustang to end all Mustangs, this might just be it, and it was built back in 1967. It is the one, and only Shelby GT500 Super Snake built back then, a name that might ring a bell to you since the moniker has been used by all the extreme Shelby GT500 versions since 2007. But this one is the first, the daddy, the one that was too expensive to be put into production.

The Original Shelby GT500 Super Snake is the Baddest of Them All

Shelby introduced the GT500 Fastback in 1967. It was powered by an FE-series 7.0-liter V-8 engine fed by two 600 CFM Holley four-barrel carburetors that produced 355 horsepower at 5,400 rpm and 420 pound-feet of torque at 3,200 rpm. These were amazing numbers for a car of its kind at the time and little over 2,000 examples were built making it a rare car by most anybody’s standards.

However, there are two 1967 GT500s that are much more significant: one is the convertible, chassis #0139, and the other is the only GT500 to have three lines across the body: the Super Snake.

This machine came about at a time when Ford was enjoying significant success racing the 7.0-liter V-8-engined Ford Mk.II and Mk. IV prototype race cars which swept the podium at Le Mans in 1966 as well as winning at Sebring and Daytona that same year. They all ran on Goodyear rubber in competition and Shelby was also the California distributor of Goodyear tires. In 1967, the new Thunderbolt tire from Goodyear was launched and Shelby was commisioned to build a special GT500 powered by the mighty 7.0-liter 427 instead of the ’Interceptor’ 428 unit under the hood of all other GT500s from 1967.

A One-of-One 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake Sold for $2.2 Million at a Mecum Auction
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The car that would take on the engine off a GT40 race car, s/n. 67402F4A00544, was chosen by Shelby’s Chief Engineer, Fred Goodell. According to Don McCain, who was Shelby’s West Coast sales representative, the result of Goodell and his team’s work was phenomenal: "[it was] the mother of all 427s at the time ... aluminum heads, aluminum water pump, forged crank, Le Mans rods, just basically everything inside the engine was built to run sustained 6,000 rpm to race at Le Mans."

The 427 had a single-carburetor intake - the carburetor being a 780 cfm four-barrel Holley unit - and lighter valves, all adding up for an output of 520 horsepower, 165 more than the standard model.

To keep all that power on the road, Shelby equipped the Super Snake with super-sized front disc brakes, a Detroit Locker rear end, traction bars, as well as tall rear gears for maximum top speed.

A One-of-One 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake Sold for $2.2 Million at a Mecum Auction
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Once finished, Carroll himself took the Super Snake for a spin around Goodyear’s five-mile long oval located in San Angelo, Texas. It turned out to be a mighty drive as Shelby pushed the tweaked GT500 to 170 mph before handing the car over to Goodell who performed a 500-mile endurance run around the oval with an impressive average speed of 142 mph. Actually, that day, the Super Snake became the fastest car in its class.

Seeing the might of the Super Snake, McCain tried to persuade Carroll to build a 50-unit run of these ultra-fast Mustangs. However, the costs of construction were prohibitive, not least because of the racing Mk. 2 427 engine and the fact that the bodywork needed some modifications as well for better air channeling around the front end. In the end, the car was given to McCain who tried to sell it through Mel Burns Ford with a $7,500 MSRP. That’s about $56,200 in today’s money... a bargain considering the money it sold for at last weekend’s Kissimmee Mecum auction. However, $7,500 was quite a lot of money back in 1967. Consider that a Series 2 Jaguar XK-E set you back only $5,870 while a regular Pontiac Firebird cost only $2,667 and the Mercury Cougar was just $2,851. In the end, the dealer lowered the price to $5,000 which is when it finally found new owners.

A One-of-One 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake Sold for $2.2 Million at a Mecum Auction
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So, as you’ve already read the title, you know how much the new owner had to pay for this irreplaceable piece of American automotive history. What’s interesting is that Mecum handled the previous sale of this exact car, all the way back in 2013.

It sold then for $1.3 million so, in other words, it went up in value by $900,000 in just six years!

To honor both the unique Shelby GT500 Super Snake and Don McCain’s wish of more than just one Super Snakes, Shelby presented last year the ’Continuation’ version of which just 10 units will be built at a price tag of $249,995. The new car isn’t new as such because Shelby starts off with a genuine 1967 Mustang that then receives the Super Snake treatment.

These cars will be built by Legendary GT Continuation Cars in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania with engines supplied by Carroll Shelby Engine Co. True to the original, these will be 427 7.0-liter V-8 FE-series units that puts out over 550 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque - about 200 horsepower down from the projected output of the 2019 Shelby GT500. Both aluminum and cast iron blocks are available as per the buyer’s wishes.

With a Holley Black Ultra HP carburetor and 10.5:1 compression ratio, it's capable of taking on modern-day gas.

Power reaches the rear wheels through a Toploader four-speed manual with 3.50 rear gears for more civil behavior.

A One-of-One 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake Sold for $2.2 Million at a Mecum Auction
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The guys at AutoBlog took a ’Continuation’ example out for a spin and they reckon that the steering is nicely weighted while also responsive, although the true-to-the-original gearbox is a bit lazy. The ride is supple too and they conclude that "its drivability is also impressive." What is more, the engine is tractable, it stays cool, and it doesn’t feel at all finicky." In other words, if you can’t afford the $3.0 million price of the original, you should go for the painstakingly-faithful quarter-of-a-million reproduction that’s better in most areas while also looking and feeling very similar... if Shelby hasn’t already sold all 10 that is.

Further reading

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang.

1968 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 1968 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500.

Source: Mecum

Michael Fira
Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert - fira@topspeed.com
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read full bio
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